Pistons rally from 17 down in final quarter


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chucky Atkins saved Rick Carlisle and the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons rallied from a 17-point deficit in the final 11 minutes, and Atkins made an 18-foot jumper with 3.1 seconds left to lead Detroit to a 94-91 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

With the Pistons leading 90-89 with 19 seconds left, Boston's
Kenny Anderson missed a shot, and the rebound went out of bounds
off Tony Battie.

Carlisle elected not to call a timeout and move the ball to midcourt. Anderson stole Ben Wallace's ensuing inbounds pass and scored the go-ahead basket with 17.9 seconds left.

"That was entirely my fault," Carlisle said. "I hung Ben and Chucky out to dry. I'm just glad the guys bailed me out."

Anderson collided with Atkins on the play, sending Atkins sprawling to the floor.

"He pretty much threw me down, and there wasn't any call," Atkins said.

On Detroit's ensuing possession, Stackhouse drove and passed to Cliff Robinson, who fed Atkins for the game-winner.

"We practice that play every day," Atkins said. "If you have good ball movement, someone is going to get a wide-open shot. I'm just proud that my teammates wanted me to take it."

Paul Pierce fumbled the ensuing inbounds pass out of bounds,
then was ejected after receiving his second technical foul while
arguing the call.

"That was a foul -- (Stackhouse) tackled him. Period," Anderson said. "I hope they look at that play, because it was an obvious foul. You have to call it."

Pierce declined comment after the game.

Stackhouse converted two of three free throws, including the technical, to seal the victory.

"We think that we are a really good team, and really good teams win those games," he said. "But it feels great to get this win."

Detroit won for the second time in as many nights and avenged a loss in Boston on Jan. 11.

Stackhouse scored 28 points for the Pistons. Antoine Walker led Boston with 28 points, while Pierce added 23.

"That's a big win for them and a tough loss for us," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "It was a fiercely contested game, but when they picked up their defense down the stretch, we did not respond well."

The Pistons trailed by as many as 16 in the first quarter, but closed within 57-50 by halftime. Walker scored 18 points in the first half and Pierce added 17 for the Celtics. Stackhouse scored 17 first-half points for Detroit.

Walker scored eight points in the first two minutes of the third
period, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Boston moved out to a
69-53 lead.

Detroit countered with an 11-point run, helped by a pair of
offensive fouls on Walker. The Pistons closed within five, but
Anderson scored five straight points and Boston led 82-67 at the
end of the period.

Pierce scored to open the fourth quarter, but Detroit went on an
8-0 run to close within 84-75 with 9:51 remaining. Wallace scored
five points in the surge.

Pierce scored to halt Detroit's run, but Jon Barry, Stackhouse
and Atkins made 3-pointers to cut the margin to 88-86.

The Pistons finally took a 90-89 lead on Stackhouse's jumper
with 2:47 left, and both teams missed their next several shots,
setting up the exciting finish.

"We had 12 minutes to close them out, and we just didn't do
it," Walker said. "We just gave them the game. It is nobody's
fault but our own."

Game notes
Detroit forward Zeljko Rebraca returned to the lineup after
missing two games with a strained back. ... Pistons guard Damon
Jones baffled his teammates and coaches at the end of the first
half, taking an inbounds pass with 2.6 seconds left and letting
time run out instead of trying to get a last shot. ... There were
seven technicals in the game -- five against the Pistons. ... The
Pistons hadn't won a game all season when trailing by more than
five points entering the fourth quarter. ... The Celtics lost for
just the second time in 21 games when outshooting their opponents.